chapter
Introduction
ByThorburn Malcolm
Pages 9

In recent years there has been a heightened interest in educating for personal ­wellbeing; the belief that even when beset by troubled economic times schools can be a civilising force for good and can help make young people’s lives more fulfilling and meaningful (Layard and Dunn, 2009). However, in this comparatively new area of curriculum priority, there remains a relative lack of analysis of wellbeing values; of how learners can flourish in schools and of how wellbeing aspirations can articulate with realising wider societal ambitions (Coleman, 2009). Furthermore, evaluations of practice have often privileged easily measurable constructions of wellbeing (e.g. levels of academic attainment or attendance) in ways which make it difficult for policy makers and teachers to review the extent to which learners’ wellbeing is thriving in schools (Eccelestone, 2012). What we often have therefore is a situation where school and curriculum mission statements cite the educational centrality of learners’ wellbeing but where the extent to which learners are well remains insufficiently explored and understood (Soutter, Gilmore, and O’Steen, 2011). These claims are consistent with recent United Kingdom Government reporting from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Wellbeing Economics (2014) where one of four key recommendations was that wellbeing needs to be seen as integral to core policy objectives in health and education, and where a child’s mental health and wellbeing is inseparable from their physical health and from their overall capacity to learn and achieve. In this light, we consider wellbeing within Wellbeing, Education and Contemporary Schooling to be a feature of individual happiness and welfare as well as a feature of community connectedness. This whole school focus is designed to be helpful when reviewing wellbeing within mainstream schooling contexts, with all that this entails for analysing the often complex relationships between learners and teachers and between contemporary schools and the communities they serve. 2